Have you ever played bar trivia, and a question about which music video Alicia Silverstone starred in comes up? It was an Aerosmith video, so you’re welcome for the win. Anyway, she is far from the only actress who has appeared in a music video. It’s usually the starting point for many celebrities’ careers.
While some actors got their start in horror movies, others were featured in music videos. You have to get your foot in the door somewhere. In some cases, the actors were already famous when they made a cameo. It’s a really mixed bag of actors who’ve moonlighted as video stars.
Robert Downey Jr. in Elton John’s “I Want Love”
Before he became the billionaire tech giant Tony Stark in the Avengers franchise, Robert Downey Jr. starred in Elton John’s music video for “I Want Love.” The actor’s career has gone in so many different directions, but we never knew he played Elton John. It came at a rocky time in his life.
Downey Jr. was in rehab before filming the video, and the video was his first job after treatment. Directed by Sam Taylor-Wood, it featured Downey Jr. walking through Greystone Mansion lip-syncing to the song. It was shot in a single take but took 16 tries to get it right.
Courtney Cox in Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark”
While some people think Courtney Cox got her big break on Friends, she actually became famous after appearing in Bruce Springsteen’s video for “Dancing in the Dark.” In the iconic video directed by Brian De Palma, Springsteen invited a young woman from the audience on stage to dance with him.
Cox was the lucky girl chosen from the crowd. Springsteen thought she was a pre-selected fan attending the show. He didn’t know Cox was a professional actress until afterward. An alternate storyline showed Cox and her friends preparing for the concert before one gets picked, but it was scrapped.
Macaulay Culkin in Michael Jackson’s “Black or White”
At the prime of his career, Macaulay Culkin starred in Michael Jackson’s video for “Black or White.” Directed by John Landis, who previously directed “Thriller,” the video opens with Culkin dancing to rock music in his bedroom when his father bursts in to tell him to turn off the music and go to sleep.
In 1991, the two were the most famous entertainers in the world. Culkin and Jackson formed a friendship over a shared bond of childhood fame. The video ended with an important message: “prejudice is ignorance.” It might have been considered controversial, but it was an iconic video.
Matt LeBlanc in Jon Bon Jovi’s “Miracle”
Courtney Cox isn’t the only Friends cast member to make it into a music video. In Bon Jovi’s 1990 video for “Miracle,” Matt LeBlanc is featured as one of the bikers who spots a beautiful girl in the village. If it were anything like Friends, LeBlanc would have said, “How you doin’?”
In true LeBlanc fashion, the music video ends with him riding off into the sunset with the beautiful girl on his bike. We can’t blame her because this was the pre-Friends version of LeBlanc. His hair is a bit longer, and he only wore white T-shirts and Levi’s.
Alicia Silverstone in Aerosmith’s “Cryin’”
Just two years before Alicia Silverstone starred in Clueless, she gave the performance of her life in Aerosmith’s “Cryin’.” In the video directed by Marty Callner, Silverstone has a fight with her boyfriend after she catches him cheating. She pushes him out of the car, leaving him in the dust.
Silverstone goes through a rebellious phase as the video progresses and jumps off a bridge with a bungee rope to trick her ex-boyfriend. The music video was the first of three appearances by Silverstone in Aerosmith’s videos.
Angelina Jolie in the Rolling Stones’ “Anybody Seen My Baby?”
Besides being an award-winning actress, Angelina Jolie is best suited to act in rock music videos. In The Rolling Stones’ 1997 video for “Anybody Seen My Baby,” Jolie looks like a total bada**. She appears as a stripper, who leaves mid-performance to walk around NYC.
Jolie had previously shaved her head for the movie Gia, about model Gia Carangi who died from AIDS at 26. Jolie rocked the buzz cut while wearing vintage lingerie as she struts around the city. She showed that she could perform any role.
Kathy Griffin in Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady”
When we think of Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady,” the last person you might think of is Kathy Griffin. The raunchy comedian is seen in the first few seconds of the video as a nurse preparing the patients’ pills in the asylum.
As the music begins, Griffin takes the microphone and says, “Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?” Throughout the video, she is seen a few times trying to control the patients, including Eminem. We doubt they would work together today.
Mila Kunis in Aerosmith’s “Jaded”
As one of Aerosmith’s most popular songs, it only makes sense that the band would employ a famous actress for the 2001 video. While she wasn’t a household name yet, Mila Kunis is perfect in “Jaded.” She plays a girl who’s lost touch with reality and can’t feel.
Kunis is waited on by servants but shows no emotion because she is “jaded.” Kunis soon became a household name because of That ‘70s Show, and the video is just a reminder of where she started before her career took off.
Christina Applegate and Eva Longoria in Jessica Simpson’s “A Public Affair”
It was a stacked cast on the set of Jessica Simpson’s 2006 music video for “A Public Affair.” The video showed Simpson and her posse as they made their way to a roller-rink. She employed Christina Applegate, Eva Longoria, and Christina Milian to play her friends.
As they get to the roller-rink, the group crosses paths with Ryan Seacrest, Maria Menounos, and Andy Dick. It was just a casual day in Jessica Simpson’s life. The video featured Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo look-alikes because they were dating when Simpson split from Lachey.
Megan Fox in Rihanna and Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie”
As if the star power of Rihanna and Eminem for the 2010 hit “Love the Way You Lie” wasn’t enough, they added Megan Fox to the music video. The 2000’s bombshell and Dominic Monaghan act out the vicious cycle within an abusive relationship.
Fox was a huge fan of Eminem and immediately accepted the opportunity to be in the video. The video broke a YouTube record with 6.6 million views in one day. Many critics praised the video for accurately depicting patterns in an abusive relationship.
Ben Affleck in JLo’s “Jenny From the Block”
During the height of the original “Bennifer” frenzy, Jennifer Lopez released her 2002 music video for “Jenny From the Block.” Ben Affleck was featured in the video, which nodded to the couple’s tabloid-centric lives. The footage was stylized to look like a paparazzi camera had filmed it.
In the clip, the couple is seen on a yacht, which they recreated in July 2021 when they rekindled their romance. Based on the paparazzi pictures, it looked like Affleck was trying to pretend he was back in the 2002 video.
Ben Stiller in P. Diddy’s “Bad Boy for Life”
When you hear P.Diddy’s 2001 hit “Bad Boy for Life,” you probably don’t picture Ben Stiller in the music video. However, Stiller appears in the video to yell at the rapper for hitting a ball through his window. Stiller isn’t the only celebrity cameo in the video.
In “Bad Boy for Life,” guests include Dave Navarro, Travis Barker, Richard Dunn, Xzibit, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Mike Tyson, Shaquille O’Neil, and Pat O’Brien. The star-studded video was nominated for Best Rap Video at the 2002 MVPA Awards and the 2002 MTV VMAs.
Rupert Grint in Ed Sheeran’s “Lego House”
If there are two Brits who get confused for each other all the time, it is Rupert Grint and Ed Sheeran. The ginger-haired celebrities have made a joke out of their similarities by having Grint play Sheeran in Sheeran’s music video for “Lego House.”
In the 2011 clip, Grint strums a guitar to the music and lip-syncs the words. Harry Potter and Ed Sheeran fans were delighted by this collaboration. In return, Sheeran dressed up as Grint’s character, Ron Weasley, for Halloween that year, giving fans even more to talk about.
Eddie Murphy in Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time”
Early Michael Jackson videos were always extravagant, and the 1992 clip for “Remember the Time” was no different. The nine-minute video was promoted as a short film, premiering on ABC, NBC, Fox, and BET. Set in ancient Egypt, Eddie Murphy was Pharoah, and Iman was his wife.
Jackson comes in to entertain the Pharoah’s bored queen because the two other entertainers failed. The Pharaoh (Murphy) hardly appreciates Jackson’s moves and orders the guards to seize him. The elaborate video also features Magic Johnson and The Pharcyde.
Jennifer Love Hewitt in Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero”
It wouldn’t be an Enrique Iglesias video without a hot woman. In his 2001 clip for “Hero,” Jennifer Love Hewitt was chosen as his love interest. The two drove down a deserted highway after robbing a motel. They also shared some passionate moments at their hideaway.
The video ends with a heart wrenching scene between Hewitt and Iglesias as he is killed, and she breaks down in the rain. The video is the perfect example of early 2000s love songs. It was also at the peak of Hewitt’s fame.
Danny DeVito in One Direction’s “Steal My Girl”
In one of their last videos as a fivesome, One Direction enlisted the help of Danny DeVito. Yes, we were just as puzzled as you. Most people wouldn’t think DeVito for a video about stealing someone’s girl.
While it seems like a bizarre pairing, DeVito appeared as a salty director, which is the perfect role for the seasoned actor. He is seen yelling at the group while they film their music video. No one can hold in a laugh as One Direction gets reprimanded by DeVito.
Halle Berry in Limp Bizkit’s “Behind Blue Eyes”
Just when we thought Danny DeVito appearing with One Direction was very bizarre, then we saw Halle Berry in Limp Bizkit’s video. The Oscar-winning actress starred in the 2003 clip for “Behind Blue Eyes,” which was a cover of the 1971 song by the Who.
The video contained scenes from Berry’s movie Gothika. The clip depicts Berry and Limp Bizkit’s vocalist Fred Durst in a relationship like the one in the film. The song is also featured in the credits of Gothika, and the music video was on the DVD.
Scarlett Johansson in Justin Timberlake’s “What Goes Around… Comes Around”
There has been much controversy surrounding Justin Timberlake and his past music videos, such as “What Goes Around… Comes Around.” When he hired Scarlett Johansson to play the female lead, it caused a rift between him and his then-girlfriend Cameron Diaz which led to them breaking up.
Johansson and Timberlake engage in steamy scenes throughout the music video, so we can’t blame Diaz for getting upset. Despite the controversy, the video won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Direction and a nomination for Video of the Year.
Jake Gyllenhaal in Vampire Weekend’s “Giving Up the Gun”
Although Jake Gyllenhaal isn’t the only famous face in Vampire Weekend’s 2010 video for “Giving Up the Gun,” his is the cutest one to look at. The video features Gyllenhaal playing tennis with a formidable opponent. He gave viewers something to laugh about and another reason to love him.
Vampire Weekend’s video also had cameos from Joe Jonas, RZA, and Lil John. Besides the other famous faces, who wouldn’t want to see Gyllenhaal run around the tennis court in tiny white shorts? He was definitely the highlight of the clip.
Christopher Walken in Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice”
No one, in a million years, would have guessed that Christopher Walken would be a fantastic dancer. However, he killed it in Fatboy Slim’s 2000 video for “Weapon of Choice.” Little did we know that Walken trained as a dancer in musical theater before becoming an actor.
Walken’s skills came in handy for the music video, which won six awards at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards. In the video, Walken wakes up from a nap in an empty hotel lobby and begins to dance and fly around the space.
Mischa Barton in Enrique Iglesias’ “Addicted”
Joining the lists of hot female actresses in Enrique Iglesisas’ videos is Mischa Barton. The OC star was Iglesias’ love interest in his 2003 music video for “Addicted.” In the video, Iglesias is in jail, and Barton visits him. It is implied that he is addicted to her.
The video was filmed in the same year as the premiere of The OC when Barton’s career was about to explode. However, this music video and her acting career are memories of the past as we haven’t seen her act or play a music video love interest in years.
Jeremy Renner in Pink’s “Trouble”
Before he played the skilled archer in the Avengers franchise, Jeremy Renner was starring in music videos like Pink’s “Trouble.” Renner played the sheriff in the Western-themed clip while Pink was the outlaw. Things got hot and steamy before she escaped.
Renner never saw it coming! There were many elements to the video, including a cameo by the Pussycat Dolls and a whole lot of eyeliner. It was the quintessential 2003 Pink rock video, and looking back on it, Renner was the perfect choice for the male lead.
Zach Galifianakis in Fiona Apple’s “Not About Love”
There is nothing more bizarre yet predictable than the body and face of Zach Galifianakis with the voice of Fiona Apple. The 2005 video for “Not About Love” features Galafanakis in bed with Apple while he lip-syncs the song. Their relationship is on the rocks.
The video was shot in one day at Galafanakis’ house and the surrounding neighborhood. The two regularly performed at Club Largo, so she asked him to be in the video after watching him lip-sync to Anita Baker’s song. It received a lot of positive reviews.
Leighton Meester in Cobra Starship’s “Good Girls Go Bad”
While the rest of the celebrities on the list just had cameos in music videos, Leighton Meester actually sang in Cobra Starship’s “Good Girls Go Bad.” So, it wasn’t a surprise when she showed up in the clip. She’s more of a pop star than an actress here.
This song reminds us of the moment that Meester’s Gossip Girl character, Blaire Waldorf, went from little miss perfect to bad girl when she slept with Chuck Bass in his limo. The video was nominated for Best Pop Video at the 2009 MTV VMAs.
Bruce Willis in Gorillaz’s “Stylo”
In the 2010 Gorillaz video for “Stylo,” the Gorillaz are in a car chase, but it isn’t until halfway through the video that we see that the other driver is Bruce Willis. The video was modeled after Mad Max because the car chase takes place on a desert road.
Directed by Jamie Hewlett, “Stylo” was nominated for a Grammy for Short Form Music Video. It must have been interesting for Willis to have a car chase with three animated characters. However, he looks like a bada** throughout the entire clip.
James Van Der Beek in Ke$ha’s “Blow”
The combination of James Van Der Beek and Kesha is strange, but we aren’t upset about it. Around the time of the video, Van Der Beek was making a comeback with the show Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 and How I Met Your Mother.
Therefore, it was a natural segue for him to be the hot guy in a music video. The 2011 hit “Blow” features Van Der Beek and Kesha battling each other with unicorns. It is the epitome of that Kesha era.
Andrew Garfield in Arcade Fire’s “We Exist”
The former Spiderman actor appeared in Arcade Fire’s 2014 video for “We Exist,” but it was met with criticism. People were angry that a cis-gender man was cast to play a transgender woman. However, a transgender woman worked on the video.
Later, we learned that “We Exist” was meant to be an LGBTQ+ acceptance anthem. Garfield dressed up like we had never seen him before, and the video was nominated for Best Music Video at the Grammys. The band said using Garfield was meant to help kids struggling with their identity.
Adrian Grenier in Britney Spears’ “(You Drive Me) Crazy”
Today, most people know Adrian Grenier from Entourage, The Devil Wears Prada, and Clickbait. However, long before he was the heartthrob of our dreams, Grenier was part of the golden age of late ‘90s music video tie-ins, and Britney Spears’ “(You Drive Me) Crazy” was no exception.
The song was featured in the movie Drive Me Crazy starring Grenier and Melissa Joan Hart, who, of course, appeared in Spears’ music video. Before he grew up into a hunk, the video showed him as a lanky boy with a big head of curly hair.
Tom Hanks in Carly Rae Jepsen’s “I Really Like You”
Although we haven’t heard Carly Rae Jepsen’s name in a while, her second hit single “I Really Like You” in 2015 featured America’s dad, Tom Hanks. The two met in 2014 at the wedding of her manager, Scooter Braun.
Braun shared Jepsen’s concept for the music video with Hanks over dinner, and Hanks wanted to be the male lead. The idea was supposed to be comedic and playful. The video also features a cameo by Justin Bieber, who is also managed by Scooter Braun.
Evan Rachel Wood in Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends”
From Across the Universe to Westworld to starring in a Green Day video, is there anything Evan Rachel Wood hasn’t done? Directed by Samuel Bayer, Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends” was envisioned to be a mini movie with an Iraq War theme.
Wood stars as the girlfriend of a guy who is deployed to Iraq even though he promised he would never leave her. The clip received criticism because some saw it as an exploitation of the war for entertainment purposes. The video reached number one on TRL.
The Slew of Actors in Beastie Boys’ “Make Some Noise”
In the Bestie Boys’ 2011 video for “Make Some Noise,” the hip-hop group enlisted the help of the most random group of actors. It was a sequel to the music video for the group’s 1987 single, “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!).”
The video shows them partying around town, with Seth Rogen, Elijah Wood, and Danny McBride playing the Beastie Boys. The clip also features cameos from Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Orlando Bloom, Will Arnett, Rashida Jones, and Rainn Wilson, to name just a few.
Aubrey Plaza in Father John Misty’s “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”
Although Aubrey Plaza is known for starring in the comedy series Parks and Recreation, she also knows how to do drama so well. The 2012 video for Father John Misty’s “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” required a skilled actress, and Plaza was up for the challenge.
The video shows Plaza bloody, manic, eating flowers, sobbing, and throwing stuff everywhere. It references Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles. Plaza’s emotional and dynamic performance is perfect for the song. She seems like a girl who would want to get frisky in a cemetery.
Ray Wise in Beach House’s “Wishes”
Besides starring as Leland Palmer in Twin Peaks, Ray Wise is featured in Beach House’s eerie video for their 2012 single “Wishes.” Eric Wareheim came up with the concept for a trippy pep rally that shows Wise walking out onto the football field to lip-sync “Wishes.”
Wise has had a consistent and impressive career for decades, and the video only added to his long list of credits. The clip was different than anything he has ever done but watching Wise sing as cheerleaders and performers dance around him was quite entertaining.
Kristen Stewart, Anne Hathaway, and Brie Larson in Jenny Lewis’ “Just One of the Guys”
Jenny Lewis rocked out with Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart, and Brie Larson in her 2014 music video for “Just One of the Guys.” The women dressed up in drag as dudes with fake mustaches in tracksuits. Hathaway even had a rat tail.
The actresses helped Lewis stomp all over gender norms while pretending to play instruments out of their drag outfits. Lewis brought the star power, and the award-winning actresses did what they do best. It was a fitting visual that helped portray Lewis’ point of being comfortable with yourself.
Shia LeBeouf in Sia’s “Elastic Heart”
It’s still unclear why Sia chose Shia LeBeouf to star in her music video for “Elastic Heart,” but much criticism followed it. The 2015 video shows LeBeouf dancing around in a cage with Maddie Ziegler wearing nothing but underwear as they interpret the song through body contortions.
It received negative criticism because of the huge age difference between LeBeouf and Ziegler which gave off inappropriate vibes. Sia later apologized to those who were upset by the clip, stating LeBeouf and Ziegler were supposed to be different versions of herself.
Eva Mendes in Will Smith’s “Miami”
Before she starred opposite Will Smith in Hitch, Eva Mendes worked with him for his 1998 music video for “Miami.” She was seen driving a convertible while mouthing the lyrics, “Bienvenidos a Miami.” The actress is a Miami native, so she felt right at home.
The music video was one of her first acting roles. It was also her introduction to Smith, who later cast Mendes in one of her best screen roles. She might have only been in the video for a few seconds, but it helped her career.
Alexander Skarsgård in Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi”
Back in her wilder fashion days, Lady Gaga hired True Blood star Alexander Skarsgård for her “Paparazzi” music video. The 2009 video shows Skarsgård pushing Gaga off a balcony after they fight because he tipped off the paparazzi. She later got her revenge by poisoning him.
Gaga said the theme of the video was supposed to be about the dangers of the paparazzi and the demise of celebrities like Princess Diana. Skarsgård was picked because the video’s director was Swedish, and he wanted to hire a Swedish actor.
Jason Sudeikis in Mumford & Sons’ “Hopeless Wanderer”
Instead of starring in their video for “Hopeless Wanderer,” Mumford & Sons enlisted Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman, Ed Helms, and Will Forte to play them instead. Director Sam Jones met Sudeikis at a photoshoot, and Sudeikis brought on the other actors.
The comedic video took the internet by storm, and everyone loved it. In the clip, Sudeikis shared a kiss with Forte, who was fighting off an illness on the day of the shoot. The band loved the video and didn’t want to change a thing.
Channing Tatum in Pink’s “Beautiful Trauma”
In 2017, Channing Tatum had already established himself as a talented dancer and actor, so it was only fitting for him to lend his moves to Pink’s “Beautiful Trauma” video. The clip was about a couple whose marriage is anything but picture-perfect.
Pink plays the wife who does everything, while Tatum is the husband who has a secret. There is a beautiful dance sequence between them as they dress in drag and drink. These two deserve their own musical based on this performance. It’s highly underrated.
Camila Mendes in The Chainsmokers’ “Side Effects”
While taking a break from playing Veronica Lodge on Riverdale, Camila Mendes had a dance party in The Chainsmokers’ 2018 video for “Side Effects.” The actress is working at a hotel when she finds out she can’t have the weekend off, so she dances her feelings out by the pool.
Mendes is unfazed by the hotel guests making out nearby. As she dances through the night shift, the security guard refuses to get in on her dance party, and there are various events going on in the hotel rooms.
Noah Centineo in Camila Cabello’s “Havana”
Shortly before Noah Centineo stole our hearts as Peter Kavinsky in Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, he made a cameo in Camila Cabello’s music video. In the clip for her hit single “Havana,” Centineo plays her love interest.
There is nothing more adorable than Centineo falling off his bike and recovering just in time to dance with Cabello. Now that she is newly single, maybe the two will rekindle their music video romance and make it real. They are great dance partners.
Taraji P. Henson in Megan Thee Stallion’s “Body”
The Oscar-nominated actress has had many big and small screen credits, including Empire and Hidden Figures. However, none of Taraji P. Henson’s roles have been more surprising than her cameo in Megan Thee Stallion’s music video for “Body.” She absolutely killed it.
The video was all about being confident and owning your body, and Henson looked very confident in her skin. The clip also featured Blac Chyna, Jordyn Woods, and other friends of the singer. The rapper wanted to show women with all different body types.
Kerry Washington in Maxwell’s “Bad Habits”
The Scandal actress starred as the mistress in Maxwell’s 2009 video for “Bad Habits.” The actress was still finding her place in Hollywood when she filmed the video. The video shows Maxwell contemplating his affair with the actress because she is his bad habit.
It was a bit of a dry performance for the actress, but she eventually showed the world she is more than a music video star. Luckily, she has improved her hairstyle since the 2000s because those bangs were not a good look for Washington.
Kim Kardashian in Fall Out Boy’s “Thks fr th Mmrs”
Most people wouldn’t consider Kim Kardashian an actress, but she has had a few acting credits. Regardless, her cameo in Fall Out Boy’s “Thks fr th Mmrs” was too good not to add to the list. In the 2007 clip, the reality star kisses Pete Wentz.
We can almost imagine Kris Jenner standing off to the side yelling, “You’re doing amazing, sweetie.” She hadn’t yet become a household name, so seeing her in the music video was pretty random. It’s where it all started for her.